Monday, August 9, 2010 | 3:40 PM
Google and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced an exciting new partnership aimed at providing resources and tools that can help small businesses learn how to succeed online. “Tools for Online Success” is a website featuring videos and tutorials from small business owners who have used the Internet to grow their businesses, and advice from Google’s experts.
You can visit www.google.com/help/sba for the full rundown and tutorials, but here are a few easy tips that all small business owners should be employing:
Establish an online presence: As more and more people get online to find information and local searches grow, an online presence is increasingly important for a small business. Whether it’s creating a website or starting a Twitter feed, there are many steps that you can take to enhance your visibility online. For example, Google Places allows you to claim your listing and input specific information about your business. This means that when people look on the Internet to learn more about your business, you are able to build and control the profile they’ll view.
Utilize free marketing tools to reach your consumer base: Services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube allow you to communicate with customers and grow your fan base. These tools are great “word-of-mouth” platforms where your customers can tell their friends about your products. Keep customers in-the-loop about new promotions or specials, or exciting events.
Know your customers: Easy-to-use web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, can help you better understand how your content is being received by customers. You can analyze what search term brought visitors to your webpage and what content they look at while they are there. This information will help you make more intelligent decisions about what products to feature and what terms your might want to run on to trigger your search engine advertisements.
Stay aware of the latest trends: The recent growing popularity of smart phones has meant that more and more customers search for information on the go. This makes it crucial for your business information to be up-to-date and online. To cater to consumers with smart phones, you can provide driving directions, post digital coupons or link to your menu.